I’ve been seeing and reading a lot of misinformation lately on two medical conditions that are near and dear to me. These conditions are Diabetes and Depression. Since I have been diagnosed with both of these a decade or longer ago I have had plenty of time to educate myself on how to manage them and so I want to share what I know with you.
Let’s look at Diabetes first. Specifically Type 2 or “adult onset” Diabetes. Virtually everywhere you see health and wellness information (and mis-information) you will find statements that diabetics are just plain lazy. If I only took better care of myself I wouldn’t have this disease. Gee, thanks.
The fact is that Type 2 Diabetes is a serious medical condition in which the body does not process and use insulin correctly. This is often called insulin resistance. Since the insulin is not utilized properly the body is not able to use glucose (sugar) properly, so the level of sugar in the bloodstream is too high. That imbalanced blood chemistry can affect many different organs in the body as well as the blood vessels themselves.
It is true that many people who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. However, the disease is not limited to overweight people. Like many other diseases, diabetes can run in families. My father, a life long farmer, is also diabetic. He has had a physically demanding job his entire life. He is the opposite of lazy yet he’s also diabetic.
Now let’s look at Depression. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been told to “just snap out of it” or “it’s all in your head” or “get out of the situation that’s depressing you”. My personal favorite has to be “You must enjoy feeling that way or you’d stop it”. NO!!!!!!
Clinical Depression is a serious medical condition in which the symptoms are ongoing and last for over a month. These symptoms can vary widely, but usually include some or most of the following: depressed mood lasting all day, lack of enjoyment in previously enjoyable activities, sleep issues, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, recurring thoughts of death/ suicide, muscle aches, loss of concentration and slowed thinking or movement. People with this condition have lower than normal levels of one or more of the chemicals that allow our brains to function (serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine).
Depression is treated with drugs, therapy, or both. Anti-depressants work by inhibiting the brain’s ability to break down those chemicals, keeping the levels higher. Since the lowered levels of brain chemicals affect how your internal dialog goes therapy helps training yourself to re-train your internal dialog. Depression can also run in families.
I have struggled with Depression most of my life and I assure you I don’t enjoy it one bit. I doubt anyone else on my mother’s side of the family who also has this condition enjoys it either. If I needed to take drug therapy for a thyroid problem no one would tell me to “snap out of it” or somehow THINK my way healthy and it’s just as ridiculous to suggest I could manage my Depression that way. Especially now while I’m going through a relapse, I find it hurtful and insulting when people say and/ or post things like this.
So please, think before you say or post any comments about other people’s medical conditions. Educate yourself before you judge.